"Why, this is so unusual, that--that--well, you see indeed I am so unprepared--I don't quite know what I do mean. Dear me, can't you explain? Don't you see that this is a most ex----"
Wasn't it curious--and amazing, and tremendous, and all that? Such a personage going around calling on such as I, and sending up his card, like a mortal--sending it up by Satan. It was a bewildering collision of the impossibles. But this was the land of the Arabian Nights, this was India! and what is it that cannot happen in India?
We had the interview. Satan was right--the Visitor was indeed a God in the conviction of his multitudinous followers, and was worshiped by them in sincerity and humble adoration. They are troubled by no doubts as to his divine origin and office. They believe in him, they pray to him, they make offerings to him, they beg of him remission of sins; to them his person, together with everything connected with it, is sacred; from his barber they buy the parings of his nails and set them in gold, and wear them as precious amulets.
I tried to seem tranquilly conversational and at rest, but I was not. Would you have been? I was in a suppressed frenzy of excitement and curiosity and glad wonder. I could not keep my eyes off him. I was looking upon a god, an actual god, a recognized and accepted god; and every detail of his person and his dress had a consuming interest for me. And the thought went floating through my head, "He is worshiped--think of it--he is not a recipient of the pale homage called compliment, wherewith the highest human clay must make shift to be satisfied, but of an infinitely richer spiritual food: adoration, worship!--men and women lay their cares and their griefs and their broken hearts at his feet; and he gives them his peace; and they go away healed."
And just then the Awful Visitor said, in the simplest way--"There is a feature of the philosophy of Huck Finn which"--and went luminously on with the construction of a compact and nicely-discriminated literary verdict.
It is a land of surprises--India! I had had my ambitions--I had hoped, and almost expected, to be read by kings and presidents and emperors--but I had never looked so high as That. It would be false modesty to pretend that I was not inordinately pleased. I was. I was much more pleased than I should have been with a compliment from a man.
He remained half an hour, and I found him a most courteous and charming gentleman. The godship has been in his family a good while, but I do not know how long. He is a Mohammedan deity; by earthly rank he is a prince; not an Indian but a Persian prince. He is a direct descendant of the Prophet's line. He is comely; also young--for a god; not forty, perhaps not above thirty-five years old. He wears his immense honors with tranquil brace, and with a dignity proper to his awful calling. He speaks English with the ease and purity of a person born to it. I think I am not overstating this. He was the only god I had ever seen, and I was very favorably impressed. When he rose to say good-bye, the door swung open and I caught the flash of a red fez, and heard these words, reverently said--
"Yes." And these mis-mated Beings passed from view Satan in the lead and The Other following after.